Thursday, June 08, 2006

THE OMEN: Who Let The Dogs Out?

THE OMEN (remake of 1976 horror flick)
Cast: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Mia Farrow, David Thewlis, Pete Postlewaite & Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Director: John Moore
Time: 108 mins
Rating: * * 1/2

Damien and his Dog
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? A baby, ‘substituted’ at birth to an American diplomat (Schreiber) in a Roman hospital, is suspected of being the Anti-Christ. Of course, the proverbial Hell breaks loose around the boy, Damien (Davey-Fitzpatrick), whenever he is on-screen. A fanatical priest (Postlewaite) and a newshound (Thewlis) traipse all over Europe in search of clues about the descendant of Satan – just like in the recent Da Vinci Code where a similar couple do the same in the quest for the descendant of Christ. Which brings us to the question: Was this movie planned to coincide with the cinema version of Dan Brown’s book?

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Thunder and lightning – that’s the big deal here whenever director Moore decides to pump up the horror. And oh yes, he also lets the dogs out. Lots of big black Rottweilers bounding out of Hell. These minor jolts work rather well sometimes.

HIGHLIGHTS: After watching the 1976 original (that left me sleepless for three nights), none of these ‘Xeroxed’ sequences are as scary, although the one about Damien’s visit to the zoo and riling up the animals is rather unsettling. Also, the presence of Mia Farrow (of Rosemary’s Baby fame) as Damien’s new nanny, Mrs Baylock, is a neat touch of ‘gallows humour’.

LOWLIGHTS: For a remake of such a classic, we expect a little more than just a recopy (the screenplay is written by the same scripter, David Seltzer). There could have been some ‘value’ added to update the movie. Adding scenes of the Sept 11 bombing and Hurricane Katrina does not quite cut it. They just smack of exploitation. Also, the concept of Armageddon and a seemingly defenceless child being the spawn of the Devil must be old hat to movie-goers by now.

THE LOWDOWN? It is certainly not the film to get World Cup fans to the cinemas. Just the ones who are so bored with football that they are willing to try anything…


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